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The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl

This beautiful picture book tells the story of Leo and Dad, who must say goodbye to a home that feels like part of the family. Wahl’s words and illustrations show the reader all the idiosyncrasies and imperfections of the blue house that would seem unappealing to most, and are what make the house feel like home to Leo and Dad.

When property all around the blue house is sold and demolished to build new apartment buildings, Leo and Dad fear their home is next. Readers, young and old, can relate to the big feelings the characters experience when they are forced to pack and leave their beloved home. 

But then, the impossible happens. Leo and Dad find a way to slowly make their new house feel like a home all while continuing to remember and love their blue house. At first glance, illustrations, words, and even the font in this book make you feel like it is an old favorite, well worn and loved for years on your bookshelf. But as you look closer, paying attention to the details of the characters and the setting, you pick up on things that make The Blue House stand apart. I love Dad and Leo and the respectful dynamics of their relationship. Grown ups will chuckle at the names of toys, books, and records scattered throughout the illustrations. This is a great picture book to use as a mentor text when working on setting with students. While the descriptions are not written using flowery or sophisticated language, they clearly outline features of the blue house that make it unique. Grab this story on a day when you need a book to feel like home.

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